- Enjoy a private canal cruise through beautiful Amsterdam to the Rijksmuseum
- Take a walk through the centuries-old architecture of Leiden with an art historian
- Switch it up for a comic-style street art walking route in Antwerp
- Explore Bruges' Groeningemuseum and the fascinating Sint-Janshospitaal
- Discover surrealism at Magritte Museum and contemporary art at Brussels' Bozar
|Day 1||Arrive in Amsterdam, Visit Stedelijk Museum||Amsterdam|
|Day 2||Private Canal Cruise to the Rijksmuseum, Visit the Van Gogh Museum||Amsterdam|
|Day 3||Rembrandt House, Transfer to Haarlem, Frans Hals Museum & Teylers Museum||Haarlem|
|Day 4||Transfer to Leiden, Take a Leiden City Walk With an Art Historian||Leiden|
|Day 5||Transfer to Rotterdam via The Hague, Private Architecture Tour of Rotterdam||Rotterdam|
|Day 6||Transfer to Otterlo, Cycle Hoge Veluwe, Visit Kröller-Müller Museum||Otterlo|
|Day 7||Day Trip to Arnhem, Visit the Open Air Museum Arnhem & Gardens||Otterlo|
|Day 8||Transfer to Antwerp, Take a Comic-Style Street Art Walking Route||Antwerp|
|Day 9||Visit the Rubens House||Antwerp|
|Day 10||Transfer to Bruges, Enjoy a Guided Tour of Ghent on the Way||Bruges|
|Day 11||Explore Bruges on Foot, Visit the Groeningemuseum & Sint-Janshospitaal||Bruges|
|Day 12||Take the Legends of Bruges Tour, Transfer to Brussels,||Brussels|
|Day 13||Magritte Museum, Bozar at the Center for Fine Arts & Old Masters Museum||Brussels|
|Day 14||Depart Brussels|
Day 1: Arrive in Amsterdam, Visit Stedelijk Museum
Welcome to the Netherlands! Amsterdam is an amazing labyrinth of nested canals, small streets jammed with tall historic houses, and beautiful buildings with charmingly decorative facades. You can explore the relatively small center on foot or bike as the locals do. Keep an eye out for Amsterdam's beloved leaning buildings with hooks in the top gables. These were designed with a forward lean to prevent winched merchandise from hitting the facade while being hauled up and in through large doors, windows and openings.
After settling in, head to the Stedelijk Museum, which houses one of the most important collections of modern and contemporary art and design in the Netherlands. Important movements such as Bauhaus, the Amsterdam School, CoBrA, abstract expressionism, and pop art are strongly represented. It also includes art from around 1860 to the present day, with key works by Vincent van Gogh, Henri Matisse, and Piet Mondriaan, among others.
Day 2: Private Canal Cruise to the Rijksmuseum, Visit the Van Gogh Museum
Today, hop aboard a small private open-top boat to tour Amsterdam's canals and see the city from the water, arguably one of the best vantage points. The boat will drop you off right in front of the Rijksmuseum, the most famous museum in the Netherlands and home to the country's most important painting, "The Night Watch" by Rembrandt. In addition to this gigantic artwork, you can also see "The Milkmaid" by Vermeer and many other iconic 17th-century works by Dutch Master painters.
Afterward, head to the Van Gogh Museum, where you'll get to enjoy some of his most famous works like "The Potato Eaters," "Sunflowers," "Almond Blossom," and one of his very last works, "Wheatfield with Crows." Van Gogh, arguably the most well-known Dutch impressionist painter in the world, created over 2,000 paintings in just over a decade. The museum has over 200 paintings, 500 drawings, and 700 letters, an intimate and detailed look into the life and mind of this artistic maestro.
Day 3: Rembrandt House, Transfer to Haarlem, Frans Hals Museum & Teylers Museum
Today you'll get to see inside the very house where Dutch master Rembrandt lived and worked for almost 20 years. Around a century ago, the monumental home was turned into the Rembrandt House Museum, and the interior was restored to how it looked during Rembrandt's residency. You'll get to know him not only as a magnificent painter of portraits but also what he was like as a teacher, a collector, a tradesman, and a citizen of Amsterdam.
Later, travel to the charming city of Haarlem by train. Here you'll visit the Frans Hals Museum. Frans Hals, together with Rembrandt and Vermeer, are the three greatest painters of the Dutch Golden Age. Frans Hals mainly painted genre scenes and portraits and is best known for his free, painterly brushstrokes. He worked in Haarlem from 1603 until his death in 1666. The museum houses an excellent collection of his works through which you can learn more about his life and legacy.
Day 4: Transfer to Leiden, Take a Leiden City Walk With an Art HistorianOn arrival in Leiden, take a city walk with an art historian. See ancient Egyptian, Roman, and Greek objects at the RMO National Antiquities Museum, and visit a medieval defense mound buried in the heart of the city center. Catch up to more modern history at Rembrandt's Latin School and the Gothic Pilgrim Fathers church, followed by the Lakenhal Museum with a collection of paintings from the past four centuries, including several Rembrandts.
Day 5: Transfer to Rotterdam via The Hague, Private Architecture Tour of Rotterdam
On your way to Rotterdam, spend the first half of the day in the city of The Hague, the seat of the Dutch government and home to one of the most magnificent paintings in the country: Vermeer's "Girl with a Pearl Earring." Here you'll visit the Mauritshuis, where you can see Vermeer's work. He only made 37 paintings during his life, three of which are on display at the Mauritshuis. Besides these, you can also see some works by Rembrandt, Jan Steen, and Frans Hals.
In Rotterdam, enjoy a two-hour private walking tour of the city with a local architect. After most of the city center was destroyed in World War II, it was redeveloped by modern planning principles with the first pedestrian shopping area in Europe, interspersed with green areas and apartment buildings. This gives Rotterdam a very different feel than other cities in the Netherlands.
Day 6: Transfer to Otterlo, Cycle Hoge Veluwe, Visit Kröller-Müller Museum
Today you head to the east-central village of Otterlo and the vast forest of the Hoge Veluwe National Park. The national park is part of the Veluwe, one of the largest forested areas in the Netherlands. Its landscapes of heathlands, sand dunes, and woodlands, much of which were created during the last Ice Age, were once private hunting grounds for Dutch royalty. Explore the park by bicycle to make the most of this beautiful natural landscape.
After your outdoor adventure, head to the Kröller-Müller Museum in Otterlo, which may be the best place to enjoy van Gogh's work. It contains many masterpieces by van Gogh, Monet, Seurat, Picasso, and Mondriaan in a beautiful building with far smaller crowds than the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam. In the sculpture garden, one of the largest in Europe, you can enjoy 160 sculptures by renowned artists among nature on a leisurely stroll. The area is particularly beautiful in August when the heather is blooming.
Chat with a local specialist who can help organize your trip.
Day 7: Day Trip to Arnhem, Visit the Open Air Museum Arnhem & GardensToday, you'll head to Arnhem to the Netherlands Open Air Museum, where you'll find 80 historic houses, farms, and windmills. The museum presents a realistic depiction of daily life for the average Dutchman over the past few centuries. Be prepared for an immersive experience as a wheelwright, blacksmith, fisherman, miller, and farmer are waiting for you; they could use an extra hand! After some honest labor, you'll taste some traditional Dutch food and drink.
Day 8: Transfer to Antwerp in Belgium, Take a Comic-Style Street Art Walking Route
It's time to cross the border into Belgium and head to Antwerp, where you'll find yourself right in the middle of the first major landmark you'll explore today. The railway station where your discovery of the Belgian region of Flanders begins was built in 1905 and has magnificent interiors and an impressive facade. Enjoy the juxtaposition of this historic architecture against the modern creation of street artists on a street art walking tour today.
With the aid of an app, you'll take a self-guided walk through Antwerp's city center, discovering many of the city's best murals and comic-style street art along the way. It takes just 10 minutes to get between each piece of art featured in the tour. As you go, fuel up at one of the many cafés and eateries you pass. Small detours will take you to some of Antwerp's best city highlights as well, such as the Grote Markt (central square) and Steen Castle.
Day 9: Visit the Rubens HouseToday you'll visit the Rubens House, the home of 17th-century painter Peter Paul Rubens. Rubens is considered the most influential artist of the Flemish Baroque tradition, but he was also an architect, diplomat, keen collector, and scientist. This splendid house and its gardens formed Rubens' little city palace. It's fascinating to see where he created most of his work, as well as take a close look at masterpieces such as "Saint Clare of Assisi," "The Annunciation," and "Adam and Eve."
Day 10: Transfer to Bruges, Enjoy a Guided Tour of Ghent on the WayOn your way to Bruges today, you'll stop for a guided tour of the magical city of Ghent. Discover a medieval castle, graceful houses, modern street art, charming squares, and markets full of goodies. An easily walkable center is densely packed with great things to see. Visit Saint Bavo's Cathedral, a massive Gothic building known for its "Ghent Altarpiece," a triptych of paintings from 1432 by local artist brothers van Eyck. Parts of the painting were stolen, and one was never found. Conspiracy theories persist about the theft and the painting's whereabouts.
Day 11: Explore Bruges on Foot, Visit the Groeningemuseum & Sint-Janshospitaal
Spend today exploring the charming city of Bruges, home to quaint cobbled streets, picturesque alleyways, and bustling squares. Bruges is a UNESCO World Heritage City packed with impressive art, architecture, culture, and history. While strolling through the romantic city center and gazing up at the marvelous facades, make sure to stop at one of the many chocolatiers that Bruges is famous for. Then, try to find yourself an empty table at one of the historic squares to try a locally brewed beer like Brugse Zot.
For lovers of fine art, a visit to the Groeningemuseum in Bruges is a must. Here you'll find six centuries of artworks from Belgian master painters such as Jan van Eyck, Hans Memling, and Gerard David. Take in the neoclassicist works of Joseph Odevaere and Joseph-François Ducq, the art of the Flemish expressionists, and the 20th-century modern art of René Magritte, Roger Raveel, and Raoul De Keyser.
Day 12: Take the Legends of Bruges Tour, Transfer to Brussels
Day 13: Magritte Museum, Bozar at the Center for Fine Arts & Old Masters Museum
Today, at the Magritte Museum, you'll find an exceptional ensemble of works by the Belgian surrealist René Magritte (1898-1967), one of the most famous artists across all styles and disciplines in the world. With more than 200 pieces on display, it is the largest Magritte collection in the world. The museum has an exhibition area of 26,000 square feet (2,415 m²) arranged according to contemporary museological standards. It is regarded as the best international collection of the oeuvre of this versatile artist.
Speaking of expansive collections, it's impossible to talk about culture in Belgium without mentioning Bozar at the Center for Fine Arts in Brussels. Through exhibitions, concerts, theater performances, movies, and literary and architectural projects, Bozar heralds originality and innovation in the contemporary art world. Whichever medium of expression you're most drawn to, Bozar has an engaging activity for everyone, keeping a finger on the pulse of cultural and artistic conversations and movements.